Washington — More than 30 representatives from the federal government, energy utilities, foreign embassies and the HVACR industry gathered here in early April to answer the question, “Is the tide turning with regard to the future of energy and energy efficiency strategy?”
The consensus of those who attended the seventh Danfoss EnVisioneering Symposium here was that it is. The daylong event featured presentations from five energy experts, followed by an interactive discussion of specific ways to address the global energy challenge and some specific recommendations for public policy.
The event was hosted by Danfoss, a manufacturer of controls and components for refrigeration, air conditioning, motion controls and heating.
“The tide is turning, but we need to change our respective approaches,” said Robert Thompson, project manager of Commercial Energy Efficiency Programs for Pasadena Power and Water. “For example, utilities need to go outside the box and incorporate new energy-efficient technologies.”
Pasadena Power and Water created and organizes an annual energy fair during which the industry presents its best energy-efficient technologies for stakeholders — government, engineering firms and end users — to consider and implement.
“The goal is to put energy savings first … and first costs second,” Thompson said.
Jean Lupinacci, director of the Energy Star Commercial and Industrial Branch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, agreed that the energy efficiency tide is turning. The Energy Star program, which has 70% awareness among homeowners, is making inroads in the commercial building sector. Lupinacci noted that more than 4,000 buildings have earned the Energy Star label, and the buildings use 40% less energy than “average” buildings. She added that trade associations, such as the Building Owners and Managers Association, are offering Energy Star programs to their members, while several states and cities are embracing the Energy Star model.
Darrell Beschen, chief economist for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, also said DOE will continue to research and develop renewable energy technologies in order to “create a balanced and diverse portfolio of solutions to address energy and environmental challenges.”
He noted that renewable energy, as a percentage of annual new energy capacity additions, increased from 2% in 2004 to 22% in 2006.
The symposium identified two recommendations: Decoupling electric utility revenue from KWH sales could motivate that industry to become a vehicle for accelerating conservation; and incentives and building code changes are needed to upgrade the installed base of old, inefficient equipment.
The next Danfoss EnVisioneering Symposium will be Nov. 14, 2008, in Carlsbad, Calif. Additional information is available at 202/744-3633 or at www.envisioneering.danfoss.com/symposium